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Pullback of forces in Ukraine's rebel east is delayed

Associated Press logoAssociated Press 7/10/2019

Ukrainian Foreign Minister Vadym Prystaiko speaks during a joint new conference with Latvian Foreign Minister Edgars Rinkevics following their talks in Kyiv, Ukraine, Monday, Oct. 7, 2019. (AP Photo/Efrem Lukatsky)

Ukrainian Foreign Minister Vadym Prystaiko speaks during a joint new conference with Latvian Foreign Minister Edgars Rinkevics following their talks in Kyiv, Ukraine, Monday, Oct. 7, 2019. (AP Photo/Efrem Lukatsky)
© Provided by The Associated Press

KYIV, Ukraine (AP) — Ukraine's foreign minister says a planned pullback of forces in the rebel east has been delayed because of recent skirmishes.

Ukraine and Russia-backed separatist rebels have agreed to pull their forces from the front line in two areas starting Monday to create a safe buffer zone.

But Foreign Minister Vadim Pristaiko says the move has been postponed due to recent shelling by separatists.

More than 13,000 people have been killed in the five-year conflict between Ukrainian troops and Russia-backed rebels.

France and Germany brokered a 2015 peace agreement that envisaged granting a wide autonomy for the rebel east and holding a local election there, but the deal has stalled.

Ukraine's newly elected President Volodymyr Zelenskiy has pushed for the vote in the east, but says a lasting cease-fire must come first.

In pics: Ukraine - Russia tensions (Provided by Photo Services)

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